All Your 'White Lotus' Season 2 Style Questions Answered Ahead of the Finale

The White Lotus costume designer Alex Bovaird reveals the story behind the show's most talked-about clothing including Albie's white socks

THE WHITE LOTUS season 2; credit HBO
Photo: HBO

We're just days away from the The White Lotus season two finale and finding out who makes it home from Sicily and who doesn't. But the fate of Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge), Portia (Hayley Lu Richardson), Harper (Aubrey Plaza), Daphne (Meghann Fahy) and the rest of the guests isn't the only thing that's keeping us on the edge of our seats. We're also completely captivated by the show's incredible fashion, thanks to costume designer Alex Bovaird, who also worked on the first season of the show (remember Jennifer Coolidge's sequin caftan, Connie Britton's Piaget bracelet and Alexandra Daddario's Goyard tote? — that was all her).

In anticipation of Sunday night's episode, we sent Bovaird a long list of questions about the cast's ensembles and hoped she'd give us the tiniest sneak peek of what goes down in the finale. Spoiler alert: She didn't. But she did tell us a lot about the looks we can't stop talking about.

The clothing in season one was great, but season two is next level. Why do you think the characters' wardrobes are garnering such a strong response from viewers and were you surprised by it?
I don't think that anyone would be paying quite as much attention to the costumes if the show wasn't so well-written and directed. Mike White is such an incredible writer and director. And this season especially, after more than two years of the pandemic, most folks haven't been able to travel, so the escapism element is particularly appealing. Also, there aren't that many contemporary luxury fashion oriented shows out there for people to get into. I did suspect that this season would be even more popular than last. The locations are even more exotic and the looks are even more fun and over the top.

THE WHITE LOTUS season 2; credit HBO

Speaking of a strong response, Portia's style is getting a lot of attention. What was your inspiration for the character's look and what can we expect from her wardrobe in the finale? Also, we need to know about the striped shrug and the significance of her dinosaur necklace.
My inspiration was from research online, Instagram and also in person at coffee shops and other hangouts in the kind of neighborhoods Portia would live in in Los Angeles like Highland Park. There's nothing like actually going to the places my characters would actually exist in and soaking up the fashion.

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I particularly like the gold print dress she wears on the boat heading down to Palermo and the House of Sunny two-piece she wears during her night out with Jack. The striped shrug is vintage — I got in LA. I fit it on Haley Lu and she instantly loved it for Portia at some point. Because of the impracticality of the garment, the beach made the most sense! The dinosaur necklace we felt just contributed to the overall sense of randomness and whimsy that her personal style embodies. You'll just have to watch the finale to see what she wears next. I promise you it will be worth the wait.

THE WHITE LOTUS season 2; credit HBO

How much input does Jennifer Coolidge have into her character Tanya's wardrobe? What are your favorite Tanya looks this season?
Jennifer had a fair amount of input into her own looks, and she's quite precise in fittings. She has a particular way she likes her garments to fit. For instance, her dresses are usually cinched under the bust, low cut and tight. We decided together that she would have upped her style game for Italy so she's wearing less caftans and more designer dresses this season. I like the Dolce & Gabbana arrival dress and the pink printed Temperley dress she wears on the scooter.

White Lotus Italian Vacation
Fabio Lovino/HBO

The salmon colored dress she wore to the Palermo party had to be a reference to the story she told about her mom, right?
Dolce and Gabbana made that dress. We chose that one in particular because it does make her look a bit like a dress up doll, as a throwback to the story about her mom.

THE WHITE LOTUS season 2; credit HBO
The White Lotus</e. HBO

Harper's wardrobe started out very preppy, but it's gotten sexier and cooler in the last few episodes. Is Harper feeling more confident? Is Daphne rubbing off on her? And where is that smoking hot black bikini from?!
I think Harper's confidence fluctuates wildly throughout the series. She starts out a bit anxious, then decides she's better than Cameron and Daphne. Soon though, her confidence wanes and descends into a kind of paranoia before recovering once more. It was tremendous fun reflecting that in her looks, and also balancing her off of, or twinning her a bit with Daphne depending on the feel of the particular episode and or scene. That bikini is from Swiminista!

THE WHITE LOTUS season 2; credit HBO

Daphne has every cool mom's dream vacation wardrobe. Do you imagine her as someone who shops constantly? Are there any more killer looks to come?
I'd say Daphne does shop for clothes a lot, and she probably gets drunk and buys a lot of items online. Overall her outfits convey a feeling of confidence and power. She's a pretty secure and confident woman, able to pull off all sorts of crazy prints and daring cuts. Again, wait and see but her eye-catching outfits don't let up!

THE WHITE LOTUS season 2; credit HBO

You've said that Lucia and Mia (Simona Tabasco and Beatrice Grannò) have a "Pretty Women" moment in the hotel gift shop. If you had to guess, how much did they charge to Dominic's (Michael Imperioli) room? Also, where did you get Lucia's super sexy red cutout dress?
I'd imagine they wound up charging several thousand euros to Dominic throughout the week. I found Lucia's red dress in a little vintage shop in Catania. When I saw it I immediately knew it would be perfect for that scene.

THE WHITE LOTUS season 2; credit HBO

Where does Valentina (Sabrina Impacciatore) get all of her power suits and pumps? Do you think she ever wears flats?
We decided early on that at least in terms of color, we would have Valentina's outfits reflect Armond's from season one since they had the same job at The White Lotus and had similar attitudes. So Just like Armond, Valentina wore khaki, salmon and blue suits. But we took it a step further with her and decided to try and reflect Mike White's interest in the television shows he grew up watching like Fantasy Island and The Love Boat. So the white pants suit that Valentina wears in the opening/closing scenes is a reference to Julie the cruise director from Love Boat!

Valentina is all about feeling powerful and wielding her power (at least at work) so it was pumps only for her.

Sabrina Impacciatore, HBO The White Lotus, Season 2 - Episode 1
Fabio Lovino/HBO

Whose idea was it for Albie (Adam DiMarco) to wear the white socks during his sex scene with Lucia?
I decided that Albie was definitely the sort of fellow who would leave his socks on during sex with Lucia.

Is there any significance to Ethan's (Will Sharpe) all-red running outfit and red printed shirt at the beach in episode six? He seemed to be on the brink of a psychotic break the whole episode.
You've got it. He's seething with anger. It's the color of the heart, the color of anger and of the lava from Mount Etna.

If you could take one thing home from the wardrobe department, what would it be?
So many answers to this, but to pick just one, the pink printed Casablanca button front blouse that Valentina wears at the beginning and end of the series. I fell in love with that brand a couple years ago and was thrilled to use some garments to use in Sicily. Plus, it looks so great on Valentina with her white Trussardi pant suit.

What's your dream location in terms of costume design for The White Lotus season three?
I've seen in interviews that Mike has said he has his eye on somewhere in Asia for season 3, so I'll just say somewhere like Japan.

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